WOONSOCKET — Efforts to redevelop the site of the June 2011 fire that destroyed the historic Alice Mill have been waylaid by a legal dispute with his insurance company, the owner of the property says.
Although the fire was deemed accidental by the Woonsocket Fire Department, the Seneca Insurance Co. of New York has refused to pay the claims on the building, according to Steve G. Triedman. The dispute is the subject of pending litigation in the state courts. Triedman said Seneca is the lead defendant in the case, although there are several others.
“They sued us first in federal court,” said Triedman. “We had that thrown out. Now we’re suing them in the state courts.”
Built in 1889, the Alice Mill was the site of the original U.S. Rubber Company, the company that made Keds brand sneakers a household name. The four-story mill housed some 217,000 square feet of manufacturing space on four stories.
Triedman, who bought the site from an injection molding company to launch the American Wood Pellet Company, says the site features some unique geographic advantages for distributing products, including a railroad spur that passes through the River Street flank of the property. The parcel also includes 7.5 acres of land overlooking the Blackstone River.
Triedman declined to say how much the building was insured for, except that the figure is in excess of $1 million.